This Walking Dead article was originally published at Den of Geek UK.
Warning: contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 7A.
As the cold, wet month of February trudges on there is at least one blood-soaked treat to look forward to, as the second half of The Walking Dead’s seventh season is nearly upon us. After some leveled criticism at the drop of pace following the head popping debut, 7B needs to bring together all the plot strands it’s been weaving and speed things towards the inevitable war. We thought it timely to see what questions need to be answered, as the Rick rebellion is now fully underway…
How are alliances going to form quickly enough to counter Negan’s wrath?
Even though the first half of this season might have taken time to introduce the disparate groups, such as The Kingdom, one man who hasn’t wasted any time dealing with problems is Negan – the Alexandrians had barely caught their breath before The Saviors were breathing down their necks, keeping up the pressure and pinching all their goodies. Then, as witnessed before the midseason break, Negan culled their numbers again after Carl and Rosita failed to adhere to his rules.
When it comes to relationship issues and his version of infidelity, Negan’s also pretty hot off the mark (sorry) and has made it his business to keep people in line using a policy of fear, which isn’t something that can be allowed to slip for even a moment. Daryl’s bloody escape has marked the first intentional move against The Saviors since the oppression started, leaving our heroes very little time to negotiate alliances before war breaks out, especially when “King” Ezekiel has made his stance on retribution quite clear.
We do know that Rick’s first meet up with Ezekiel is on the cards imminently, as his plea forms a central part of the new three minute promo trailer, however it wouldn’t surprise me, based on the structure of previous seasons, if The Walking Dead chooses to build up the alliances over several episodes in “real time” as any large scale explosive encounters (can they ever beat Daryl vs. tank?) will be saved for the last couple of the season.
When will Dwight finally rebel and form a mutiny within The Saviors?
Dwight has, to date, been a detestable coward in need of a sticky end – shooting Daryl, torturing him and stealing his gear was already two steps too far for Dwight to survive much longer, but when you combine that with killing Denise in cold blood and his increasingly odd obsession with emulating Sir Dixon, he’s a dead man walking and will most likely meet his end in the grand tradition of “coward comes good at the last minute and dies like a dog” (a passing tip of the hat to Pvt. Hudson).
Dwight has mostly lived in fear after his last attempt to flee resulted in death, face melting, and Negan pinching his wife, Sherry, but since she’s now actively keen to break from the tyranny of the Sanctuary and has been assisting Daryl, it shouldn’t be long before Dwight snaps and steps up. Since we’ve already witnessed another member joining his iron face gang, there are at least another couple of dissidents and judging by how many residents we’ve seen who are only serving The Saviors out of fear, there could potentially be a large rebellion within the ranks, which could help turn the tide.
Will action Carol come back for one last hurrah?
She has to, right? The main concern surrounding what I imagine to be a last stand for Carol, is that it would play out in much the same way as Achilles’ fate – knowing he was going to go down in a blaze of glory, but stepping back in to battle nonetheless. Carol has become one of the show’s greatest characters, but her evolution has now come full circle and I don’t imagine there will be anything more tragic than seeing her self-sacrifice in order to save her friends one last time.
Her mental state dictates that isolation is all she wants from now on, so Carol can’t really continue as part of the show just living on the periphery, being brought food and gifts by her admirers. It’s fine as a short term stint, but no one can maintain peace on The Walking Dead for too long. This isn’t a scenario that I imagine anyone really wants to see play out, but it could be the best way to say goodbye to such a strong and beloved member of the group.
Who will prove to be the biggest liability – The Kingdom’s Richard or Hilltop’s Gregory?
There’s nothing like throwing a wild card into the mix, but since there’s more than one it’s difficult to predict which culprit will have the biggest negative impact. As Ezekiel’s right hand, Richard’s hatred for The Saviors has already made him a marked man, but there’s no telling what his grief and anger will lead him to do – when we saw him last he exploded into violent tears, while shacked up in what looks to be a relic of his life as a family man.
Since Carol and Morgan didn’t give in to his plea, perhaps he’ll find the leader he’s looking for in Mr. Grimes, helping to pave the way for an alliance (there’s a shot in the latest teaser of him looking at Ezekiel when Rick is pitching for a team up), but it’s the show of volatility that’s worrying, as having a loose cannon hardly ever pays off. That said Richard, as played by Karl Makinen, has a shade of The Punisher about him (the tactical vest and a passing resemblance to Ray Stevenson don’t hurt), so here’s hoping he can channel that rage into something productive.
Gregory, on the other hand, proved himself a coward immediately and continued down the slippery slope towards full-on bastard when his attempt to hand over Maggie and Sasha failed and then, to add insult to injury, stole Hershel’s old watch from Glenn’s grave. Gregory’s behavior rightly earned him a punch in the face (not his last, I’d wager), but since his fear of Negan is greater than that of Rick’s gang, it can’t be long before he tries to earn favor by trading information to The Saviors, though we’ve seen how that ended for Spencer in a scene that resulted in many a cheer, so that’ll be something to look forward to.
Will we get to see tiger vs. zombies?
I’ve mentioned this before and it might well be evolving into an obsession, but I really, really would like to see Ezekiel’s overgrown pet, Shiva, tearing chunks out of the undead, as well as a few Saviors. I’m sure the day will come and it will most likely be a short burst, but how could they not exploit such a grand oppourtunity?
How much ass will Rick and Daryl kick now that they’re side by side again?
This week, Gale Anne Hurd said the following about what’s coming in the second half of season 7:
We get to see whether or not [Rick] can take back the mantle of leadership. Everyone has been changed… Daryl, who feels an incredible responsibility for Glenn’s death, won’t give in to Negan and he won’t say, “I’m Negan.” Ultimately, he and Rick are reunited, which I think bodes very well for their future and not so well for Negan’s.
That statement, it has to be said, made this particular Walking Dead fan very excited. Season 6 gave both fans and even the cast reason to rejoice, when it allowed Rick and Daryl a brief episode together in “The Next World,” something that had been well overdue. One of the show’s key strengths has always been watching the two heroes fighting side by side, but circumstances have mostly kept them apart since the destruction of the prison a full three seasons ago.
Since their sob-inducing hug in the last episode, it’s reassuring to know that they’ll be reunited and on a mission of vengeance. Rick has finally moved past his overt fear of losing more of his nearest and dearest, mostly because his two closest – Carl and Michonne – both refused to give in to Negan’s tyranny, so I imagine his return to leadership will mostly be a struggle within, as he’s always been able to inspire people to follow him, though not always in the right way.
Norman Reedus, meanwhile, has teased a more feral Daryl is on the cards following his escape from The Sanctuary, with a split second shot in the trailer to back up his words. It’s about time too, as Daryl’s mostly been relegated since they hit Alexandria, as he’s struggled to fit in with the normal societal structure and then, as mentioned above, stripped of his iconic bike, vest, and crossbow, which just didn’t sit well at all. It will no doubt make his ascent all the sweeter. For fans of the characte,r it’s felt like an age since he’s been a core part of the group, which was then compounded when his foolish act ended Glenn’s life and had him locked up for half a season.
Rick has his trusty Colt Python by his side, so it’s time to get Daryl’s crossbow back, preferably needing a wipe down after it’s covered with Dwight’s blood. Bring it.